A TEMPORARY crossing can be installed in a village while work is carried out on an historic bridge, experts have revealed.

Essex Highways says investigations have found a short-term crossing can be put over the brook in Finchingfield.

Residents and councillors have called for the crossing to be installed to avoid them having to take a long detour when the main bridge in the village is shut off to traffic.

Bosses at county hall are planning to knock down the 200-year-old bridge, which they say is in a deteriorating condition, and rebuild a similar structure in its place.

The work would mean a closure of the B1053, the main road through the village, and force drivers to take a 16-mile diversion to get from one side to the other.

Essex Highways carried out trial hole investigation work on the nearby village green in October to check whether a temporary crossing would disrupt underground cables and pipes.

And the tests have yielded positive results with Highways announcing it would be possible to install another bridge.

A spokesman said: "Site investigations carried out at the end of October 2019 in and around Finchingfield’s village green proceeded very well and have shown that it is technically feasible to install a temporary bridge across the village green.

"We are continuing to explore this as an option and will make arrangements to meet Finchingfield Parish Council in the coming months to meet and discuss the next steps to bring us closer to this as a potential outcome."

The meeting with the parish council is expected to take place this month.

Reacting to the news a temporary crossing is feasible, chairman Jane Welsh said: "It's certainly a positive step forward and it's good that everyone is working together on this now.

"There would have been a 16-mile diversion if the temporary crossing wasn't allowed. People have joked that's more of a day trip than a diversion."

She added: "Having the temporary crossing is so important because we do worry that without it, the village will die.

"We're very lucky in Finchingfield because we are on a crossroads and get people visiting quite often.

"We have pubs, shops, a post office and a garage so we need that flow of people to continue. Hopefully the temporary crossing will mean that can carry on."

Essex Highways will need to obtain planning permission to build the temporary crossing.

It will also require permission to knock down and rebuild the main bridge.

Bosses say planning applications will be progressed in the coming months.